That’s it for another year. Marilyn and I saw our final documentary at 8:00 last night. HotDocs 2013 is officially over. Funny, but in the end, I was no longer tired. I know I wrote, early in the week, I was weary; and grateful for a couple of days without movies. But I got my mojo back towards the end of the week. I hit my stride. And, now, I’m re-energized.
The movies we saw got much better as the week progressed (until yesterday), which could have something to do with it. Or, I just got into the groove. Doesn’t matter what it was, in the grand scheme of things. I’m just happy we went. And I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some of the films we missed, during the year.
Here in Toronto we’re very fortunate. We have a theatre, very close to where I live, devoted to showing only documentary films, 365 days a year. We also get non-documentary festival-worthy films at other theatres
throughout the city, all year long.
Our audiences are sophisticated, knowledgeable film-goers, which is why so many directors love screening their movies here.
There’s something about film festivals I really enjoy. I’m not entirely sure what it is. Part of it is probably the fascinating conversations I always have with other movie lovers, while we’re standing in the inevitable lines. It’s cool when you meet, and engage, with total strangers, with similar interests. Individuals with whom you share a love, and an understanding, of film. It really adds to the experience of seeing a movie.
Could also be the opportunity to attend the Q&As with the film makers. Listening to the directors or the actors or the screenwriters or the producers explain their motivation in making the films, what their challenges might have been, what they hope audiences will take away … well, it just adds so much. It’s such an important perspective. I love getting the back stories. And, inevitably, for me, the films always become more memorable. And meaningful.
Frankly, I wish we had film festivals throughout the year here. I’d be first in line for passes and tickets, let me tell you.
Just so happens, my wish could come true. Turns out there are thousands of film festivals around the world, encompassing every genre you can think of. And many you’d never, ever imagine, even in your wildest dreams.
So theoretically, I could spend the rest of my life traveling the world, watching movies.
Which is exactly what a former client of mine suggested I do, when we had a catch-up lunch a couple of months ago. He’s been heavily involved in the arts scene most of his professional life. In fact his wife is an actress. We worked together years ago and really hit it off. And have kept in touch. In fact, about six years ago, he had a brilliant idea for an environmental not-for-profit for kids between the ages of seven and fourteen. I tried to help him get it off the ground. Unfortunately, it was just as the 2008 financial crisis was gaining momentum and he had to put the project on hold.
We always bump into each other at movies, which usually sparks a lunch. As usual, our most recent one lasted close to three hours. We always have so much to talk about, so much to share. So much brainstorming to do. We always had a creative connection, he and I. He brought me up to speed on what he’s been up to and I did the same. And suddenly he leaned forward in his chair, and pounded his fist on the table.
“You know what you should be doing”, he screamed. “You should be traveling around, going to film festivals all over the world, the important ones and the tiny, fledgling ones, and writing about them. Blog about them. Sell the idea to a magazine. Write a book about your experiences. That is what you should be doing!”
Obviously I loved the idea. He was suggesting I combine three of the things I love most. Going to movies and traveling. And writing about both. I’d not only ‘review the films’, I’d make it a travelogue as well. I wouldn’t only discuss the experience of attending a festival in a particular city, or country, or town I’d also discuss the travel experiences I was having.
Definitely my idea of heaven. And a unique twist, a ‘hook’. Which is necessary if you’re going to get a newspaper or magazine interested in your articles.
Before I could say a word, he pounded his fist on the table a second time. “Get yourself a sponsor to pay your travel costs.” Of course the minute that sentence was out of his mouth, my mind started to wander. There are several potential prospects I can think of, for whom this would really be strategically relevant.
To be honest, as excited as I was at the time, I haven’t done anything with the idea. I got busy with a couple of new clients. But being at HotDocs this past week has reminded me how much I love going to festivals. I am going to make this a priority now. I am going to get busy writing a presentation; and getting a list of potential prospects organized.
Note to self. Passport expires at the end of the month. Renew immediately!